Cleaver continues to lead the way

On Saturday, Feb. 4, Representative Emanuel Cleaver held his first 2017 Town Hall Meeting.  Its focus was on immigration: providing information and responding to concerns of the immigrant communities.

Speaking to a crowd of over 1,000 strong, Cleaver was inspiring and informative, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and the benefits immigrants provide to our communities.  His panel of experts responded to specific, individual questions from the audience.  In addition, outside the hall, organizations had booths with staff available to provide additional information.

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Cleaver continues to lead the way on these important issues, showing that Missouri’s 5th District is represented by one of the great leaders of our time.

#immigrationpolicy #nobannowall #knowyourrights #revcleaver

Emanuel Cleaver II For Congress: It is a Family Matter

As long as U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver has served in government, the Mesle family has supported him. Our loyalty to him is ongoing because we believe he personifies the ethics, civility and judgment essential to wise governance.

On behalf of ourselves, and my late father, we ask for your support of Representative Cleaver. We believe he is good for Kansas City, good for Missouri, and good for our nation.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II

Congratulations Madam Councilwoman!

V is for VICTORY!

I’m proud to announce that my aunt, Sherry Mesle-Morain, just won a seat on the Lamoni City Council. Congratulations Aunt Sherry! You were an excellent candidate, and you will be an amazing councilwoman.

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Big hugs and lots of love from your Chief “Team Sherry” Officer!

My DNA Revisited: Where Did I Come From

On September 17, 2012, I published a post “My DNA–What? Surely you Jest!!  Just a few days earlier I received notification of my DNA results from Ancestry.com.  My photograph of a torn up circle representing my DNA was prominently included in my post.

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For amateur genealogists everywhere, Ancestry.com’s $99 DNA test was probably their (and my) first chance to actually get a sense, scientifically of “where did I come from”.  I bought a test in the Fall of 2012, took the test, received the results and was totally confused.  Nowhere in my DNA test results did I see any support for my research concerning my Western European roots.  Since my own research indicated strong ties to France and Germany, I tore up my test results in frustration.

IMG_3243What a difference a year makes.  On Oct. 17, 2013, I received an e-mail fromAncestry.com notifying me (and, I am sure, everyone else who has taken their DNA test) that “Our breakthrough update is here, with exciting new details and context…”.  The new results more closely mirror my years of research into my family tree.

In many respects the old and new results are similar.  But in terms of my family history research they are miles apart.  Much of the research I had given up as wrong, is now consistent with the new results.

 

My revised DNA test results:                                         My original test results:

Scandinavian                33 %                                              Scandinavia                 43 %

Ireland                            30 % [1]                                         British Isles                  40 %

Europe West                18 %                                                Middle Eastern          10 %

Italy/Greece                 12 %                                                Southern European    7 %

Trace Regions

Iberian Peninsula       4 % [2]

Finland/N. Russia    < 1 %

Great Britain              < 1 %

Caucasus                       1 % [3]

My research is validated in many significant respects:  My Lewis ancestors presumably moved to the colonies in the 1600’s from Wales rather than England.

My Western European DNA is consistent with the Mesle migration from Western France where they lived in St. Maixent, Alencon and Poitou (just North of the Iberian Peninsula) beginning in about 1000.  By the  1300s, Mesles lived in the Normandy Region of France.  By the the 1500s and 1600s, Mesles lived in Germany before relocating to the New World.

My great-grandfather Franz Mesle, nicknamed “the Swab”, almost certainly lived at least briefly in Austria-Hungary.  Germans who settled in Austria-Hungary, (near the Caucasus area) were called Swabs.  Franz married Katharine Kirsch/ner, daughter of Conrad Kirsch/ner.  A Catharine Kirschner was born in Jabuka, Austria-Hungary in the 1800’s to Conradus Kirschner. By 1881 Franz and Catharine lived in Canada and then the U.S.

If my new and enhanced DNA results are correct that I am 1 % English, my maternal great grandparents, John Fox and Jane Bond Fox, both born in England, must be my only English ancestors.

My search continues.  The biggest change in my results are, to be fair, a shift of DNA results from Northern Europe to Northern and Western Europe.  But this seemingly minor change is significant in connecting my research to my DNA.

I now continue my search.  Who am I? Where do I come from?  What difference does it make?  Maybe none.  But my quest continues.

As for my Lumbee ancestors–I still do not have a trace of Native American DNA

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[1] “Ireland” includes Wales for purposes of the DNA results

[2] The Iberian Peninsula includes extreme SW Europe: parts of France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra & Gibraltar

[3] Caucasus is on border between Turkey & Kazakhstan in W. Asia

Sundays with Terry: The Flint Hills

In celebration of Labor Day Terry, Casey and I visited the Flint Hills. Following the “America’s By-Ways” route from Callaway, Ks. to Council Grove, we spent a day surrounded by evidences of a simpler way of life: small towns, coffee shops and two lane highways.

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The grasslands, rolling hills and unassuming waterways are lovely, if not dramatic.

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Abandoned houses seem just a little bit more exotic in the Flint Hills than when we see them in our own community.

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Death comes as surely as anywhere else.

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U.S. Dairy Sustainability Commitment — A Review

Dairy cows out at Pt. ReyesThe U.S. Sustainable Dairy Commitment is a collective effort involving the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, and dairy farmers, processors, retailers and businesses. The purpose of the commitment is to work together to “provide products that are nutritious, produced responsibly and economically viable for all.” [1]

The original sustainability commitment, signed between the Innovation Center and USDA in 2008, provides that the dairy industry will be proactive in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Specifically, the industry-wide, voluntary goal is to reduce U.S. dairy’s GHGs by 25% by the year 2020. Additionally, dairy producers have seen the following benefits [2]:

  • More than 6,000 producers received a total of $287 million through USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentive Program to implement conservation practices
  • USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program invested more than $53 million to install anaerobic digesters on dairy farms (anaerobic digesters basically break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen, and thus reducing the amount of landfill gas emission into the atmosphere)
  • Over 350 on-farm and in-plant energy audits were conducted, and nearly $640,000 in cost-share grants were provided for energy efficiency equipment

It is exciting that the dairy industry has accepted the challenge to reduce GHGs and make dairy processes more efficient, both for the sake of the environment and the economy. As an animal lover, I do wish there was some language about also incorporating humane practices, however it appears that humane practices are included in the requirement to produce dairy products responsibly. I’m sure that’s already written down somewhere in the industry guidelines, but it would be nice for this sustainability commitment to also include a pledge to engage in practices that are healthier for the environment, more efficient for the economy, and more humane in the treatment of animals in the dairy industry.

Are there are dairy buffs out there who’ve had any experience with this Sustainability Commitment? After reading a few articles from various news sources, and of course, the Innovation Center’s website, I’m very curious to see what impact this is having in the diary industry, and if dairy producers/processors are seeing a difference.

To learn more from the folks at the Innovation Center, you can visit their website at www.usdairy.com.

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* Please note, I am not an expert in anything dairy, except for the fact that I love the products. All views expressed in this article are my personal opinions and do not reflect the views of any organization with which I am affiliated. Please forgive any ignorance to practices or industry standards. Any comments are welcome!

[1] See Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy website at www.usdairy.com/sustainability

[2] Gallagher, Tom, “U.S. dairy’s sustainability commitment realizes benefits for dairy producers”, June 4, 2013,  http://dairybusiness.com/seo/headline.php?title=u-s-dairy-s-sustainability-commitment-realize&date=2013-06-04&table=features.  Gallagher is the C.E.O. of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Sebastopol, CA to require solar power on new homes, buildings

What a cool idea. Solar panels on top of each and every newly constructed home or building! I recently had a discussion with some cohorts here in Petaluma about how great it would be if people would just start using all the rooftops in the city to generate power using solar panels. Well, sounds like Sebastopol has the same idea.

As I read in the Press Democrat’s online article from May 8th [1], Sebastopol City Council recently voted unanimously to require solar power systems on new homes and commercial buildings. Sebastopol is now the second city to make such a move, following Lancaster, CA, which is located in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Nice work, Sebastopol. I’m sure there will be a number of details to work out moving forward, but I’m excited about the idea of using alternative energy in Sonoma County.

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[1] Story covered by Staff Writer Guy Kovner of the Press Democrat. You can go to the website at www.pressdemocrat.com and search under the “Politics” section. Or click on the hyperlink in the body of this post above to go to Kovner’s article.

(Photo courtesy Wiki Commons)